The trouble with a plan to run against the Democratic Party is that there aren’t that many people who vote in the primaries who nevertheless despise the party as an institution. Even in many states where Sanders beat Clinton in 2016, like Indiana, he lost self-identified Democrats, according to exit polls. His performance, there and elsewhere, was driven by success with independents, and it’s no coincidence that in states where only registered Democrats were allowed to vote, he did poorly. The critical “Acela Corridor” states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, and Maryland — still hold these “closed” primaries. There are more Democrats than independents in the primaries. It would then stand to reason that someone who wants to win the nomination shouldn’t engage in behavior and rhetoric that alienates those voters. If anything, he should be bending over backwards to appeal to them. And he can do that! Did you see him looking like Mike Trout on the softball field?
That’s why hiring journalist and former contributor to this site Briahna Joy Gray, who publicly announced on Twitter that she voted third-party in 2016, was another curious choice. It is why the decision to allow actress and Ralph Nader/Jill Stein enthusiast Susan Sarandon to introduce him at campaign events in Iowa is so mind-boggling. Sarandon is near the top of a short list of people who cause the heads of Clinton diehards to explode. And hey, maybe you hate Clinton and Clintonism and Clinton voters, but this remains a not-winning strategy in a Democratic primary in which you need to persuade a certain number of them to join your team.